USU Opera Theatre

About USU Opera Theatre

USU Opera Theatre offers students the opportunity to participate in productions of the great works of classical opera and modern musical theatre every year under the direction of Prof. Dallas Aksoy. Our productions have a focus on teaching students the art of musical stagecraft – telling a story on stage through sight and song.

Utah State’s Opera Theatre has proven to be an excellent starting place for young singers, many of whom have gone on to further study at some of the nation's finest graduate schools and conservatories and then on to accomplished careers with prominent companies around the world. Direction by professionally-experienced faculty that have a passion for teaching provides a unique experience few university music programs can match. Professional guest stage directors are also brought in from across the country to give students an authentic, pre-professional experience and further prepare them for a career as a professional singer or voice teacher.

Repertoire is carefully selected each year, tailored to our students’ needs, and has consisted of Baroque/Classical/Romantic/20th-century opera, contemporary musical theatre, and creative programs of opera/musical theatre scenes. Opera scholarships are also available, providing additional performing opportunities and training as part of the Marie Eccles Caine-Russell Family Opera Outreach Quartet.

All interested students are welcome to audition. Please contact Prof. Dallas Aksoy for more information on how to be involved!

Productions

USU Opera Theatre is pleased to announce the following productions for the 2022-2023 year. You can find tickets for these and other Music Department productions at our online Ticket Office.

Purchase Tickets for Upcoming Productions

Something to Lose: A New Musical

Come be the first to see a new one-act musical by USU student Aaron Nash. Set in a small city in suburban America, a young man attempts to deal with the mental anguish that accompanies his sister's unexpected death. Through mistakes and self-discovery, he attempts to regain the life he once had. October 7-8, 2022 at 7:30 in the Caine Lyric Theatre.

Theodora

One of Handel’s masterpiece oratorios, Theodora follows a love story between the Christian Theodora and the newly-converted Roman Didymus in the 4th century Roman border town of Antioch, a center of early Christian/Roman tensions. January 20-21, 2023 at 7:30 in the Russell/Wanlass Performance Hall.

Sweeney Todd

By Sondheim, Sweeney Todd tells the tale of an unjustly exiled barber who seeks vengeance against the lecherous judge who framed him and ravaged his young wife, set in 19th century London. April 13-15, 7:30 and April 16 4:00 in the Utah Theatre.

L’incoronazione di Poppea

By Claudio Monteverdi, this production was filmed during our 2020-2021 season and currently wrapping up post-production, watch for our show on CCA Presents!

Highlights from Past Productions

Ghost Quartet - Spring 2022

Director: Dallas Aksoy
Scenic/Costume Designer: Dennis Hassan
Lighting Design: Hannah Whorton
Photographer: Anthony Messler
Cast/Orchestra pictured: Taylor Stucki, Patrice Densley, Gideon Benge, Hayden Höglund, Jeremy Adriano, Megan Richards, Becca Palmer

Uncovered - Spring 2022

Orpheus in the Underworld - Spring 2021

Director/Scenic Designer: Dallas Aksoy
Costume Designer: Jordan Draper
Choreographer: Stephanie White
Photographer: Anthony Messler
Cast pictured: Kristen Fairbourn, Brianna Skeen, Kaylee Borchert, Zack Grob, Tanner Pruett, Layton Loucks, Demetria Torowus, Maribelle Taylor, Joshua Rogers, Hayden Höglund, Collin Crook

L'incoronazione di Poppea - Fall 2020

Director: Stefan Espinosa
Scenic Designers: Dennis Hassan, Hannah Whorton
Costumes Designer: Alex Heder
Videographers: Michael Palmer, Anthony Messler
Photographer: Dallas Aksoy
Cast pictured: Patrice Densley, Josh Roy, Hayden Höglund, Kaylyn Baldwin, Tanner Pruett, Danielle Casós, Rachel Grob, Elisabeth Kinghorn, Zack Grob, Abbigayle Dennis, Lauren Tougas, Joshua Rogers

Dido & Aeneas - Spring 2018

Director/Choreographer: Nate Dryden
Scenic/Costume Designer: Dennis Hassan, Sara Shouse
Lighting Designer: Bruce Duerden
Photographer: Andrew McAllister
Cast pictured: Benjamin Krutsch, Becca Keel, Carly Schaub, Peter Larsen, Megan Warburton, Karley Garrett, Andrew Taylor, Nathan Scott, Sariah Seare, Danielle Casós, Amanda Strasbourg, Rachel Grob, Lauren McCurdy, Abbigayle Dennis, Allison Klippel

La finta giardiniera - Spring 2017

Director: Daniel Helfgot
Scenic/Costume Designer: Dennis Hassan
Wig/Makeup Designer: Sara Shouse
Lighting Designer: Keith Carson
Photographer: Andrew McAllister
Cast pictured: Benjamin Krutsch, Rebecca Soelberg, Andrew Taylor, Nicole Vander Does, Emily Cottam, Amanda Strasbourg, Brad Summers

Opera Outreach Quartet

Thanks to the generosity of the Marie Eccles Caine-Russell Family, Utah State Opera is able to offer four scholarships for outstanding voice performance majors to be part of the USU Opera Outreach Quartet. As their primary responsibility, the Quartet prepares and presents an educational and entertaining thirty-minute opera or musical at high schools throughout the Intermountain West. Recipients for this prestigious award are announced each fall.

Members of the 2022-2023 USU Opera Outreach Quartet

Maribelle Taylor
Maribelle Taylor

Maribelle Taylor

Maribelle Taylor is a Junior in the Vocal Performance program. She grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada where she studied voice before coming to Utah State. Her notable roles at Utah State are Minerva in Offenbach’s Orphée aux enfers, Grandmother in Lori Laitman’s Uncovered, and Theodora in Handel’s Theodora. She hopes to open a private voice studio after graduation, and possibly pursue graduate school.

Layton Loucks
Layton Loucks

Layton Loucks

Layton Loucks is originally from the small town of Morgan, Utah. He is currently a senior vocal performance student at Utah State University studying under Grammy Award winning tenor, Thomas Glenn. Layton was the first place winner of both the 2022 Utah State University Aria Competition and the 2022 Utah Vocal Arts Academy Aria Competition, as well as a finalist in the Utah State University Concerto Competition. Layton has a deep love of opera, and has had the opportunity to perform roles in many productions such as Juptiter in USU opera’s 2021 production of Orhpeus in the Underworld by Offenbach, The Rabbi in the premiere of Lori Laitman’s new opera, Uncovered last March, and as the title role in Utah Vocal Arts Academy’s 2022 summer production of Gianni Schicci by Puccini. Layton will also be performing the role of Valens in USU opera’s production of Theodora by Handel in January, and the role of Tonio in Utah Lyric Opera’s production of Pagliacci by Leoncavallo in February.

Patrice Densley
Patrice Densley

Patrice Densley

Patrice Densley is a senior in the Vocal Performance and Choral Education programs at Utah State University. She has sung and performed since she can remember and has always had a passion for music. Patrice particularly loves musical theater and has performed in many shows. She loves working with children and youth and aspires to be an elementary school music teacher. Some favorite performances include Gelsey (Ghost Quartet), Katherine (Newsies), and Gargoyle (The Hunchback of Notre Dame). She has also soloed with the American Festival Chorus and Orchestra, under the direction of Dr. Craig Jessop. Outside of school and music Patrice spends time with her friends and family.

Caden Webb

Forthcoming